Aug 19, 2013, 8:33 PM EDT
Still, there are some interesting reasons why the new look/old look Avs might surprise a few people next season.
First time charm
For several seasons, coaches have made the jump from lower levels of hockey to have immediate success behind NHL benches. Some have carried that strong work over beyond their first season in the league (examples: Dan Bylsma and Bruce Boudreau) while others flamed out (Guy Boucher), but a fresh voice has often helped teams make sudden gains in the wins column.
Of course, those guys have usually been coming from the AHL, not the QMJHL like Patrick Roy.
If nothing else, Colorado seems to have nowhere to go but up.
For one thing, 2013’s disaster allowed the Avs to select first overall, nabbing a potential blue chip in Nathan MacKinnon.
Their offense might be closer to full strength due to better circumstances, too. Ryan O’Reilly won’t be mired in contract squabbles. Gabriel Landeskog (hopefully) won’t deal with troubling concussion issues. The team also landed a potential coup by trading David Jones for Alex Tanguay, who still might have some gas in the tank at 33.
That previous section represented a potential boon for the Avalanche offense, but if that’s not enough, elements of human nature could spur success.
For one thing, with new management in place, few jobs are truly safe. Even if it’s merely a short-term boost, one can assume that players want to get in the good graces of Roy and Joe Sakic.
Beyond that, some significant players are entering contract years. O’Reilly, Semyon Varlamov, Paul Stastny, Steve Downie and Jamie McGinn are among the noteworthy guys who have a lot of money to gain or lose this season.
Naturally, plenty can go wrong. That’s especially true for a team that hasn’t been a contender for many years.
Still, there are some appealing reasons for fans to hope that the Avalanche could become a dark horse candidate in 2013-14.
More Avs day fun
- Big money: Tarasenko signs eight-year, $60 million extension with Blues 74
- Blackhawks extend TVR through 2017-18 3
- Good start: McDavid scores five in Oilers scrimmage 32
- Caps ink Kuznetsov to two-year, $6 million extension 9
- Bruins sign three — Hayes, Connolly, and DeFazio 12
- Babcock expects Kadri to be ‘an elite player’ 15
- No expansion bid expected from Kansas City 37
- Leafs sign Matthias — one year, $2.3 million 17
- Report: Kopitar, Kings in ‘early stages of negotiations’ for extension 12
- Arbitration filed: Holtby, Nyquist & Stepan highlight list released by NHLPA 15
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (131)
- Expansion process underway as NHL sends out applications (94)
- Big money: Tarasenko signs eight-year, $60 million extension with Blues (75)
- Sabres lock up O’Reilly through 2022-23 (74)
- Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick (73)